Health

Gov. Andy Beshear announced Thursday the Kentucky State Fair will be closed to the general public.

During an afternoon press conference, Beshear said limiting the state fair to participants is a necessary step that will allow the tradition to continue amid the coronavirus pandemic.

State Fair Board Director Steve Wilson said every board member is in support of the measure, which cancels concerts, food vendors and guests, but will allow the agricultural competitions and the horse show to continue.

“We are proud that we are having the fair, but obviously the health and safety of our community is utmost in our minds,” he said. “And we are just delighted we are going to at least have the horse show and the livestock contestants.”

The state fair will be held at the Kentucky Expo Center in Louisville August 20 through 30.

Another 516 people tested positive for COVID-19 Thursday, and eight more people have died. The positivity rate remained flat at 5.51%. Beshear said he believes cases are leveling off because Kentuckians are following the state’s mask order.

The state has done better the last four days than it has the last two weeks, Beshear said.

“And with an opportunity for the first time at the end of this week to have the first decrease we have seen in probably six or so weeks,” he said.

The governor also announced plans to extend the state’s mask mandate and 10-person gathering limit for another 30 days.

He also said he plans to issue new guidance allowing bars to reopen, at his Monday briefing.

While stressing that plans have not been finalized, he said both bars and restaurants should expect to be able to re-open indoors at 50% capacity, but with new curfews. The last item served will be at 10 p.m. with an hour grace period for customers to leave, Beshear said.

His office also extended emergency orders allowing pharmacists to dispense up to 30 days’ worth of emergency refills of medicine, and protecting Kentuckians against price gouging.

 

Ryan Van Velzer is WFPL's Energy and Environment Reporter.